NYPD Actions Faulted;
Report criticizes Sept. 11 response

July 26, 2002

An independent study of how the Police Department reacted the day the World Trade Center was attacked is heavily critical of how the department responded, a top police source told Newsday yesterday.

The report was prepared by McKinsey & Co., a Manhattan-based business management consultant that operates globally.

The source would not provide specifics, but among the issues that have been raised is the communication difficulty that day between the NYPD and the Fire Department.

For one, the departments did not set up a joint command center but operated separate centers. Fire officials were on West Street, while police were by City Hall, about a half-mile away.

There also have been hints, other sources said, that the information relayed to police at street level by their counterparts in helicopters was not quickly passed along to fire officials.

Sources also said that there was poor communication within the NYPD, with hundreds of cops racing to the scene without their superiors' knowledge.

The same held true for the Fire Department, sources said, with firefighters racing there from all parts of the city - as well as points north and east of the city, such as Long Island - without any direction.

Bernard Kerik, the police commissioner at the time, could not be reached yesterday to comment.

Sources said the report was given to police supervisors with the rank of deputy chief and above.

Sources said they had to file a confidentiality clause prohibiting them from leaking the report or its findings to the media. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly probably will release the report next week, sources said.

McKinsey prepared a similar report for the Fire Department. That report probably will be released next month, with one source saying that it breaks no new ground.

"People are going to be disappointed if they're looking for big news in this," the source said. "This is not so much a backwards-looking document as a forward-looking document. It talks about deployment and staging areas and that sort of thing."

Sources said the reports strongly suggest a better radio communication system that would allow the two departments to communicate with each other on the same system. On Sept. 11, cops and firefighters used two different systems.

For both of its reports, McKinsey interviewed dozens of police and fire commanders and reviewed hundreds of pages of computer records and hours of radio transmissions. Researchers also spoke with military personnel and police and fire departments from other cities.

Staff writer William Murphy contributed to this story.



Back to the Stories & Articles Page